Wild Wonder September 27: Create something beautiful.
Incarnation families are gathering on Sunday mornings at 9:30am in Alcova Heights Park—or at home, or in another lovely natural spot—for a casual time of family prayer and nature exploration. This fall, we’re enjoying art, music, and nature together, and we’re pondering Jesus’ maxims or "great sayings." Here's this week's verse:
"Love your enemies." Matthew 5:44
Who is your enemy?
Who was the enemy for Jesus' listeners?
How did Jesus demonstrate loving one's enemy?
In Sunday's Gospel reading, we'll hear the Beatitudes, in which Jesus fleshes out even further the crazy, upside-down, beautiful new ethic He models for His followers—possible to imitate only because He first loved us.
Create something beautiful.
Where are you and your kids seeing beauty this week? In her last sermon, Liz encouraged us to delight in creation, and to take time to create something ourselves. I love that instead of compartmentalizing our life of faith, this practice encourages us to notice God's fingerprints in all our different areas of creativity, study, play, work. Let's brainstorm:
Music. Bring Swing Low Sweet Chariot into your repertoire. (Friend of Incarnation Erica suggested the 5 Blind Boys of Mississippi's stirring version. Jamie's is another favorite!)
Art. Go back to this post's ideas for looking together at Jacob Lawrence's Brownstones. While this isn't a specifically religious painting, we use eyes of faith to ponder the day-to-day life captured in this scene. (Did you or your kids notice the cross that's central to the painting?)
Practical Life. Teaching life skills is suddenly, necessarily, in. Very chic! “Practical life” exercises have always been part of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, both to develop self control, particular skills, and the ability to focus (which to some extent are prerequisites for our prayer life!); as well as to foster a sense of community and ownership in our atrium. If this seems interesting to you—if getting the kids to be in charge of lunch suddenly felt like an educational priority this spring, as it did to me—check out some of the parent pages from CGSUSA: Practical Life and the Elementary Child, The Young Child at Home, Room by Room, Practical Life and the Prayer Table.
Mundane household chores and training opportunities aren't removed from the scope of God's care for us and our nature as creative beings. No need to tell your kid that you're evaluating their chores as an indicator of their relationship with God—just an encouragement that we can engage in our daily work with intention, asking God for the grace we need, even offering it as an act of worship.
If the above feels like a lot, move right along to my final suggestion, and my personal favorite enjoyment of/participation in a beautiful creation this past week:
The Jerusalema Dance Challenge
Have you heard "Jerusalema" yet? It's fantastic. A little background: "a South African gospel song has the world singing and dancing through a pandemic!"
Here's the original music video.
Here's a pretty good #Jerusalemachallenge video showing the basic dance. (But explore that hashtag for more jaw-dropping moves.) Absolutely, yes, we used this for homeschool P.E. this week. Here's my unofficial breakdown of the steps:
Left tap 2-3-4
Right tap 2-3-4
Scissors (4 beats)
Walk forward w/ attitude and quarter turn left (4 beats)
Walk left 2-3-4
Walk back 2-3-4
Start over w/ the taps.
[If anyone else shows the least interest in this, we will practice the dance at Wild Wonder. It's so fun.]
Whether you dance or just listen, think about what's behind Jerusalema's global appeal. When the kids and I looked at the English translation of the lyrics, they reminded us of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
Jerusalem is my home/ My place is not here/ My Kingdom is not here/ Guide me/ Take me with you
Enjoy (and direct any further questions to our favorite South African priest 🇿🇦)!